PLANS to build a £5million data research centre at Essex University have been confirmed.

The data research centre will make data, routinely collected by business and government organisations, accessible to academics to carry out research of national importance.

The Economic and Social Research Council-funded project aims to provide evidence to influence Government policy.

David Willetts, Universities and Science Minister, said: “The new data research centres will help the UK grasp these opportunities and get ahead in the global race.”

The centre, to be based within the forthcoming £21million Essex Business School, will be led by Essex University, working with East Anglia and Kent universities.

The university has an abundance of data scientists at the UK Data Service and the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering, who can use information to explain why we make the decisions we do.

Vice-Chancellor Prof Anthony Forster said: “This is a fantastic initiative for Essex and really helps us position ourselves as number one in the UK and Europe for harvesting data analytics and applying the data in new and exciting ways in order to support our business partners.”